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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/214

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

aim of all was to publish the general news of the day, but political influences were still strong enough to control editorial policy, and ultra-partisan and sectional views were incorporated in the record of events. There were still editors of great power and influence in politics and public affairs, and they tried to shape the current of the new condition by the force of editorial writing. A number of editors, of both the old and new order, for a time followed the policy of subordinating to partisan politics all other features of the newspaper. They sought to make the press the dominant influence in politics, and to do that they presented in their journals only one side of public and party questions. They undertook to think and to reason for their readers, and their partisan and sectional views were reflected in the news columns of their papers. So long as party feeling ran high this style of journalism was popular and successful, but the newspaper, being in the nature of an educator of the masses, soon set the people to thinking for themselves, and created a demand for the news of public and political events without the color of individual opinion. The change from intense partisanship to partial or complete independence of editorial utterance has come slowly, and is still under way. To-day there is no great daily newspaper in the United States so entirely subservient to a political party as to support any man or measure without question or protest. Politicians fear this spirit of independence, and therein lies the secret of the great power of the press in public affairs. The most powerful and successful journals are those that combine absolute fairness and honesty with independence.

So-called schools of journalism, in the rapid development of the profession during the past twenty years, have merged into one general system or plan, which is to get all the news and publish it. Journals may be graded or classified by their treatment of news and their judgment as to the intelligence and moral character of the reading public.

A detailed record of the development of the mechanical part of the newspaper business during the past thirty years would be almost a synopsis of all progress in science and art. The newspaper printing press of to-day, which prints, cuts, folds, and counts ninety-six thousand papers per hour, with one man to operate it, is the mechanical wonder of the age. It is justly regarded as the greatest piece of machinery that the ingenuity of man has yet devised. Type is no longer set by hand in the making of a newspaper, the letters being formed from the metal direct and cast in finished lines by machinery.

Studying the perfection and magnitude of the newspaper print-